There is a wide established tradition whereby Shakespeare’s "The Tempest" is interpreted with respect to the Caribbean environment, despite the fact that the action of the comedy explicitly takes places in the Mediterranean sea. Consistently with this tradition, the name of Caliban, the monstrous and deform native of the island and one of the play’s fundamental characters, has been interpreted as the anagram of “cannibal”, thus reinforcing a connection with the Caribbean indigenous populations discovered by the first European travellers to the New World. In this paper new arguments are provided to reject the “Caribbean” interpretation and the Caliban / Cannibal equation, preliminarly arguing that the scene of "The Tempest" is the literary elaboration of the geographical and historical features of the islands situated in the Mediterranean between the African coasts and Sicily. The main objective of the work isto give a new etymology for Caliban’s name, whose origin could be traced back to the Greek words καλύβη ‘hut, cabin’ and καλύπτω ‘cover; hide, conceal’. This etymology better agrees with the image of Caliban as a character of a pastoral drama of "Commedia dell’arte" (a source of Shakespeare’s play conveniently suggested by some scholars) and above all is decisive to the comedy’s interpretation.

Il nome di Calibano (Calibano ritorna nel Mediterraneo)

Sornicola
2021

Abstract

There is a wide established tradition whereby Shakespeare’s "The Tempest" is interpreted with respect to the Caribbean environment, despite the fact that the action of the comedy explicitly takes places in the Mediterranean sea. Consistently with this tradition, the name of Caliban, the monstrous and deform native of the island and one of the play’s fundamental characters, has been interpreted as the anagram of “cannibal”, thus reinforcing a connection with the Caribbean indigenous populations discovered by the first European travellers to the New World. In this paper new arguments are provided to reject the “Caribbean” interpretation and the Caliban / Cannibal equation, preliminarly arguing that the scene of "The Tempest" is the literary elaboration of the geographical and historical features of the islands situated in the Mediterranean between the African coasts and Sicily. The main objective of the work isto give a new etymology for Caliban’s name, whose origin could be traced back to the Greek words καλύβη ‘hut, cabin’ and καλύπτω ‘cover; hide, conceal’. This etymology better agrees with the image of Caliban as a character of a pastoral drama of "Commedia dell’arte" (a source of Shakespeare’s play conveniently suggested by some scholars) and above all is decisive to the comedy’s interpretation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/895698
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